Op-Ed: Karen Stockley “Health & Safety First” Moratorium

Larimer County owns 100% of the surface and mineral rights for this property, including all oil and gas. Image courtesy of www.larimer.org

By Karen Stockley

 

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Our Larimer County officials have been complacent in dealing with the effects of fracking, and they need to hear us loud and clear. This spring, the Commissioners put together a Task Force to study Oil and Gas extraction and to draft local regulations. Unfortunately, two-thirds of the Task Force have close ties to the Oil and Gas industry, and the regulations that came forward were loosely drafted and did not include safe, appropriate buffers from wells. We as citizens need to demand a TEMPORARY Moratorium on all new Oil and Gas permits in Larimer County until the COGCC (Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission) finishes up drafting their new rules pursuant to SB 181.
For the last two decades, I have fought to protect wildlife and animal sanctuaries, worked on ever-changing complex water issues, and stood up against developers to protect our open spaces and quality of life. I take pride in being a champion for our local environment, but on the issue of Oil and Gas extraction, I am going to need your help. 

Why a Moratorium? The risks from fracking are just too high. Problems can include: well pad explosions, underground cracks and leaks (which can permanently pollute our aquifers), cancer-causing pollutants from the VOCs, increased ozone pollution, radiation risks to tank workers and haulers, and the list goes on and on. There are thousands of articles published in the Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking. 

www.psr.org 

The baseline testing for our air, soils, and water has not been done in Larimer County, and this needs to be the first step towards stronger regulations. To my knowledge, there has been no baseline testing in Larimer County or by the COGCC. 

Additionally, until the COGCC and Larimer County come up with proven safe distances to wells, appropriate air monitoring, and baseline studies, we should NOT allow any 

more permits in Larimer County as the risks are simply too high with many issues still being evaluated. 

This is about prioritizing the Health and Safety of each of us living in Larimer County. There are some municipalities who are leading the state in providing this for their citizens. Berthoud, the community I’ve called home for over 20 years, recently reenacted a 6-month moratorium on issuing new permits to Oil and Gas Development. The goal is to protect the citizens’ health until the COGCC has established rules regarding the industry pursuant to Senate Bill 181 which is now Colorado law. Berthoud understands and respects the importance of protecting their citizens. 

Simply put, it is irresponsible to continue taking more risks with our health and environment. The American Lung Association’s State of the Air 2019 Report designated Larimer County Air Quality with an “F” Grade for Ozone. The conclusions of their report determined “If you live in Larimer County, the air you breathe may put your health at risk.” 

https://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/sota/city-rankings/states/colorado/larimer. 

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It is time to start protecting our local environment – not double down on business as usual. While fracking has been around for decades, never before has Colorado experienced so much fracking along the front-range, and Horizontal fracking has now invaded a large portion of Colorado’s front-range including close proximity to neighborhoods, playgrounds, and schools. Now is the time to protect our environment as our lives depend on it. 

For more information

https://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/sota/city-rankings/states/colorado/larimer. html 

If you want to learn more about grassroots efforts to fracking in northern Colorado, go to the Larimer Alliance for Health and Safety for updated information on citizen’s efforts to regulate fracking. 

http://www.larimeralliance.org 

Lastly, if you wish to learn more about our campaign, donate, endorse, volunteer, or share what we are doing with your friends and family, please check out our website at http://www.stockleyforcommissioner.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/karenstockley2020/